Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Grant in Washington, DC

A big hattip to Housing.com Blog for finding this condo conversion project located in downtown Washington, DC at 1314 Massachusetts Avenue NW. The condo name is The Grant. Their website says "Some things are best left in the rear-view mirror. Like adolescence, high school, living at home, renting and roomates. Sooner or later you've got to put them behind you." You can read the rest at their website.

Picture of the building before renovation. Studios start at 189K. How well will these units sell?

80 comments:

  1. No parking equals -$100K.

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  2. i can't wait to read lances' spin on this!!

    :lol:

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  3. Wow. Times have changed. I guess people have convinced themselves that having roommates in your late 20's is perfectly fine and fun!

    I did not even have a roommate in college for God's sake.

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  4. Think that one through, VA_. People have roomates in their late 20's because they HAVE NO CHOICE. Housing costs have skyrocketed, salaries have not.

    That is the whole point of this discussion - things got way out of hand for far too long and are in the very beginning of correcting themselves.

    My first job in DC paid 23K. I lived alone, on Connecticut Avenue, near the metro, and had a view of the Capitol Dome. Nowadays? Forget it.

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  5. Kinda reminds me of that complex in the New Jack City movie. What did the call that thing?

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  6. "I did not even have a roommate in college for God's sake."

    With your take on the housing market, you might be homeless in the next few years.

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  7. anon,

    With 5 homes paid for and the rest well on the way, It is doubtful I will be homeless in my lifetime.

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  8. David,

    Thanks for following up on the Grant. I saw it while passing by in a cab and forgot to snap a picture of it.

    If this sucker's still on the market in a few years, I guarantee you'll be seeing that $189,000 price for two-bedroomers.

    Martin
    Housing.com

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  9. crispy,

    You visit from the left coast!

    I was just responding to a "concerned" bubblehead. But I appreciate your input.

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  10. "With 5 homes paid for and the rest well on the way, It is doubtful I will be homeless in my lifetime"

    Wow! You have a lot more exposure to the
    housing market than I could have imagined.

    Good Luck weathering the downturn.

    What years were the purchases made?

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  11. 1983 to 2002. Then 3 more on 1031's at 30% LTV.

    Overall LTV is 20%.

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  12. Thatz kool.

    Check out this graph to see where you purchased in the bubble.

    Annual New Home Price

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  13. anon,

    Nice chart. I hope people can see the similarities between the later 80's and 2000-2005.

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  14. My guess is your prediction for downturn is just as much, it was in early 90's.

    I think 1990 was a local maxima (peak).
    And 2005 will be the overall peak of the
    graph. In 2006, the graph will start its descent back to the 1970 level.

    I am pretty sure you are about to mock my theory.

    We will find out who is right in the coming years.

    The grand experiment of fiat money is about to collapse in a year or two.

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  15. anon,

    I am not going to mock you. What is behind your theory? And what happens to other asset groups?

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  16. crispy&coleJuly 30, 2006 4:16 PM

    Looks like the NASDAQ chart. SFH investments = CMGI!

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  17. crispy&coleJuly 30, 2006 4:21 PM

    I hope people can see the similarities between the later 80's and 2000-2005.

    ______________________________

    Difference this time, IMO (which you will dismiss as "bubblehead"), is that the LT trend line will not rise in the next 10 years. I see it falling by 1/3. I have about 10 reasons, however...

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  18. The Gold Standard.

    Since after the US abandoned it, the Fed has been printing dollars at will and
    handing it out to consumers as debt.

    Housing is the primary bubble created as a result. People have been cashing home equities for a long time now. Which has made the US economy 70% consumer spending.

    No more home ATM, and that 70% sector of the US economy starts shrinking.

    The stock market enter a bubble in 1995. The DOW tripled from 3700 to 11000 in 2000.

    That bubble will bust too.

    Sounds too big to fail, but I think thats what is coming.

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  19. cripy,

    So...it's different this time? Sounds familiar.

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  20. crispy&coleJuly 30, 2006 4:32 PM

    Va-

    Could have said the same thing about the NAZ in 2000! Eventually every asset class returns to reality! Please read one of the bubble head handbooks - one of my favorite's is Devil Take the Hindmost.

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  21. va_investor said...
    1983 to 2002. Then 3 more on 1031's at 30% LTV.

    Overall LTV is 20%.

    ===========================

    overall LTV is 20%

    OMG am i glad i'm not you, i wouldn't be able to sleep at night. i really thought you were gonna be at like 50% overall LTV with that much realestate exposure.

    i'm gonna give you some good advice, sell now as many as you can to get to the overall LTV of 50%.

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  22. crispy,

    YOU are the one saying that the decline will be different this time. I predict a normal cycle. You do not.

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  23. anon 1:34,

    LTV equals Loan to Value.

    20%LTV = 80% Equity.

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  24. Nope, not an intermediate cycle.

    This is the overall peak.

    The 90's downturn looks like a mosquito bite on the graph.

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  25. crispy&coleJuly 30, 2006 4:45 PM

    I remember doing some bank audits in the early 90's and watching the LTV' go from 50% to 100% in a few years! Watchout the "v" can change very quickly!

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  26. thanks for the concern crispy. If rents drop by 80% I'll worry. Until then, I really don't care what prices do.

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  27. Is that a prison?...Where are the
    guards?...

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  28. waiting for godotJuly 30, 2006 6:05 PM

    "Is that a prison?...Where are the
    guards?... "

    LOL, it will feel like a prison once you get in and all hell breaks loose.

    Glad this thing is finally coming to a head. When prices get to high for me to afford, then I know something is wrong with the housing environment.

    Interesting what is happening to Norva inventories. They were flat for a long time at a low level, and now they have been flat at a high level. Not going either direction. I guess this is the plateau that we have been hearing about. Any thoughts on this?

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  29. Anonymous said...
    "Wow! You have a lot more exposure to the
    housing market than I could have imagined."

    Va_Investor, The complete lack of understanding how real estate works shown by some of these bubbleheads is frankly extremely frightening. I suspect that in our old age we are going to find ourselves with increased taxes to pay for these people who won't have been capable of ensuring their own solvency. And I am saying this in all honesty. I mean, how could anyone but the most uneducated person claim you have "market exposure" on your longterm rentals since (1) you're not even "in the market" as you have no intention of selling these units anytime in the near future, and (2) with the so low "mortgaged" amount on each of these propertities, you'd have a close to zero market exposure even if you were in the business of reselling these rather than renting them. Of course, as I'm sure you know, since you are in the rental market and not the real estate property market, your exposure would have to come from the possibility of decreased rents ... and as we all know, rents are rising ... rapidly! Again the complete ignorance of how anything economic functions by some of these bubbleheads is really frightening ... since it is what is causing them to find themselves unable to even provide longterm for their basic housing needs ... instead having to resort to buying a "discounted product" (i.e., leasehold vs freehold) where they can avoid paying the premium that comes with locking in one's housing needs costs for life. But, I suspect we are talking far over their heads, and they will counter with their usual miscontruing. You'd think they'd get a clue that we might know what we're talking about as nothing speaks better than "success" ... but their apparent jealously prevents them from even benefiting from that deflected knowledge which we are handfeeding them daily. It's like taking a horse to water, and watching it die of dehydration as it refuses to drink the water thinking you have poisoned it!

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  30. just talked to an Agent who showed 15 houses yesterday in Ashburn (loudoun county). All b/t 500k and 600k. 2/3 were VACANT.

    I guess some speculators are taking it on the chin. He thinks it will take two years to burn off the inventory.

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  31. "instead having to resort to buying a "discounted product" (i.e., leasehold vs freehold) where they can avoid paying the premium that comes with locking in one's housing needs costs for life"

    What do you know about "locking in" one's housing costs for life? Your bank owns title to your property in lieu of a mortgage on which you pay "interest only." Where is your "lock," Lance? You are at the mercy of the credit markets, buddy. I am not.

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  32. VA_did you say 2 of 3 were vacant, empty? Good God.

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  33. Anonymous said...
    "i can't wait to read lances' spin on this!!'

    We've been through this before, even a single and very poor buyer can afford to buy a $200,000 condo provided they are ready to set priorties in their life and learn to tighten their belt for several years. These studios aren't even $200,000 and most people aren't single. And most people don't earn so little either. And, unlike what the bubbleheads think, I don't think EVERYONE should be out buying ... or even staying in the DC area. If you are just into your first job and earning close to nothing, it doesn't make sense to buy for a variety of reasons ... most of them related to your not being a proven asset to either your company or the workforce in general. At that stage in life, you need to keep yourself flexible and owning your own house decreases that ... it gives you roots, which you don't need yet. Or, if you are 40 years old and still earning less than what a just-out-of-college new hire is making, then you should consider looking elsewhere to live and prosper. It's no secret that lots of people live here (and in places like NYC and LA) because of the increased opportunities for their careers. THEY are willing to pay a premium to live here because over the longterm, that premium they pay will be more than rewarded in the way of pay possibilities that wouldn't be available in Dubuque. But, if you are 40 years old and still "not making it" here, why stay? Move to a lower cost area where you don't have to pay that same "opportunities" premium for housing that those succeeding are paying for. Go to smaller pond where you can be a bigger fish ... and live accordingly a lot better than will ever be possible for you here short of winning the lottery ... or that big 50% bubblebust coming ... And the odds of either are about the same for you ... Zero to Zilch!

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  34. lance said:

    "I suspect that in our old age we are going to find ourselves with increased taxes to pay for these people who won't have been capable of ensuring their own solvency."

    Lance, if you believe that, I would LOVE to make a huge deal with all housing heads. I will pledge not to ask the government for a dime of bailout money in my old age if it turns out housing heads are correct, and in exchange, all housing heads will pledge not to ask me for a dime of my money if I turn out to be right and there is a housing bubble.

    If I could get that deal, I'd take it in an instant.

    A Redskins fan

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  35. crispy&coleJuly 30, 2006 6:57 PM

    I suspect we are talking far over their heads, and they will counter with their usual miscontruing. You'd think they'd get a clue that we might know what we're talking about as nothing speaks better than "success"
    _______________________________

    Lance -

    You are another I am soo rich and so right blow hard. I don't brag but to keep you from taking shots at me: I am a CPA with a 7 figure (low leverage) net worth, and I am UNDER 40. So kiss my a$$! You think you are so great because you bought some real estate, how about getting some self confidence and stop resorting to CONSTANT BRAGGING ON THIS BLOG! We can disagree, but the bragging about your success or wealth is just downright annoying!!!

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  36. dc_too,

    Yes, he said 2 of 3 were vacant. He wrote his first "contingent" contract today. Contingent on the purchaser selling her home.

    He thinks it will get accepted because the house she wants has been sitting 6 months, empty, on the market.

    He had to do some talking with her about her unrealist asking price on her house. He explained that she is getting a terrific deal on the move-up, so there is no real loss in pricing her place to sell.

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  37. crispy,

    It is so typical of trolls to bait people with specific questions and then claim they brag.

    I am unimpressed with your million dollar net worth. In this day and age, the 7 figure mark should be hit by 30.

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  38. Lance,

    You hit a nerve with our left coast friend crispy. He might be a renter(?).

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  39. crispy&coleJuly 30, 2006 7:23 PM

    Not a renter. State your case - w/o bragging. Thats all. Its annoying!

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  40. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  41. Lance said...
    ha! yep!

    ... probably one of those who "cashed out" on the roof over their heads to play the market! You'd think that as a CPA, he'd have friends who were financial advisors and could help him out some. I mean, CPAs interpret and report what was, they're not exactly trained in financial planning ... And I'd imagine they are also not naturally suited to the "out of the box" thinking that financial planning requires. When I was earning my accounting degree, I remembered noticing how very different the two types were as represented by our teachers. The flamboyant forward thinking types were the ones teaching finance or taxes, the "can't think outside the box", "must be in a rule somewhere" types were the ones teaching Accounting I, II, and III, Auditing, GAAP, and Accounting Theory!

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  42. I'm a renter in the DC area, because I'm too smart to buy things when they're overpriced. Choke on it, housingheads.

    I may buy in an area where pricing makes sense and rent the place out. I have some friends in real estate in some states, and they can recommend a good management company. I can do that on top of my other investments because I'm such a smart renter and not a housinghead moron who bought in 2005. I didn't fall for any of that "lock in your rent forever," so I didn't make the mistake of signing a 30-year lease at an inflated rent with my bank as the landlord. I feel sorry for those who did.

    Ciao, babies.

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  43. Again, those who use the cliche phrase "think outside the box" identify themselves as being incapable of truly "thinking outside the box." Those who truly "think outside the box" refrain from cliches like "think outside the box."

    Those who engage in wishful thinking and empty braggadocio, however, love to talk about "thinking outside the box."

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  44. Keith,

    I have nothing against renters but there seems to be a good deal of bitterness toward owners.

    Many real estate owners have done quite well in recent years. Get over it. Buy or don't buy. I don't really care unless you are one of my tenants. I hate turnover.

    Think about it. The bubbleheads want all the owners to go down in flames. Do you think we care two cents about your stocks or bonds?

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  45. "People have roomates in their late 20's because they HAVE NO CHOICE"

    That is not true. I know plenty of people earning between 50K - 80K who choose to have roomates. in their late 20's.

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  46. "Many real estate owners have done quite well in recent years."

    I sure as hell have. Just not willing to give it all back.

    "I hate turnover."

    That must be why my landlord loves me like a son. Pay the rent, respect the property.

    I think the guy above, or around here somewhere, who said, "we were all shocked out how high it went, we will all be just as shocked about how low it goes," said it best.

    Did I mention neighbors paid 375 times my monthly rent for their house? Did I also mention I paid 50 times rent for mine, in '97? Woe to he with the "vision" to buy at the top of this particular mountain.

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  47. David - fair enough. That was just my way of protesting the idea that there is something inherently wrong with people who make a choice to live with roomies. In my book, it is "normal" at that age.

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  48. Renting doesn't mean roommates.

    In fact, if the newspaper stories were true about groups of college kids buying houses together, owning can mean roommates as much as renting.

    investor said: "Buy or don't buy. I don't really care unless you are one of my tenants"

    Then why do you spend so much time on a blog devoted to studying the housing bubble? Don't answer; it's a rhetorical question.

    A Redskins fan

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  49. fan,

    I've already answered that question.

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  50. "The bubbleheads want all the owners to go down in flames."

    No. The bubbleheads (at least this one) think housing prices got away from their fundamentals in 2003/2004-2005. Now, there were some owners who got annoying about things and acted like they were geniuses because they'd bought, and it got under some people's skins. As I point out, those whom really saw the boom coming didn't buy a house; they bought builder stocks in 2001-2002.

    And there are some of the more extreme bubbleheads on here who have crazy downward predictions that I don't buy, either.

    But I personally don't want most owners to go down in flames, and most owners wouldn't go down in flames, even if we had a 30-40% price drop in this area. A 30-40% price drop in this area would cause a few owners to go down in flames, and it's their own damn fault for buying when they did and getting caught in a craze with an important financial decision. But most owners would be fine.

    I think some housingheads take this way too personally. Lance, for instance, has this weird schizophrenic
    attitude. He thinks that if somebody prefers lower housing prices, that person is evil because of all the poor owners that would be harmed by falling housing prices. But Lance has no problem going "nyah nyah nyah" if housing prices go up. That's bizarre. Lance, don't get all moralistic if you're not going to be consistent.

    My view: I think prices will head down significantly in the DC area, but I'm open to evidence that they won't. I'm going to stick to analysis and not wishful thinking.

    "Buy or don't buy. I don't really care unless you are one of my tenants."

    You do care. Otherwise you wouldn't have replied. Now and then you have a good point, but you also do play a cheesy "ooh, I'm too rich to care about what you inconsequential bubblehead renters think," even though you are one of the most frequent posters to this board. Let's face it, you're a little full of it on that point. If you didn't care, you wouldn't post.

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  51. DC-Too,

    Buying at 375 times rent is thinking outside the box!:)

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  52. Indeed, Keith!

    And to re-reply to David, my original comment spoke to my experience in an entry-level job with a bachelor's degree. I think the point holds - people one or two years out of school do not, generally, have the luxury of paying for an apartment alone in DC.

    VA_Investor also said she didn't even have a roommate in college - that means either she lived with her parents or they paid her rent.

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  53. dc-too,

    My parents paid for my education as I believe all parents should. This included room and board and, no, I haven't lived at home since High School.

    I almost bought a condo in High School for 18K. My mother was encouraging me to. Having a rental at that age was a little daunting so I passed.

    I should have bought it as I was a "Townie" and could have lived there during college.

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  54. Hmm, looks like yet another condo development in Alexandria has been cancelled. The Tuscany Condo has disappeared from the Bozzuto site along with the primary website. Not surprising if so. It was being built in the horrible Landmark area which needs to be burned to the ground, top to bottom.

    I guess its possible they sold them all already, but I doubt so. People may remember that place was guaranteeing the price would not go down after you buy.

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  55. Pardon me for the re-post:

    Wondering about all the hostility?

    http://tinyurl.com/zpbqt (thanks to patch for the kink)


    Yep, buyers are going to need riot gear.

    http://tinyurl.com/llast

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  56. Keith said:
    "He thinks that if somebody prefers lower housing prices, that person is evil because of all the poor owners that would be harmed by falling housing prices."

    Keith, it is not a matter of preferring lower housing prices. Prices don't get set on preferences --- either the buyer's or the seller's. They get set by "the market." I am trying to make you understand that to expect lower housng prices is delusional. Because of the general economic conditions that are already clearly on their way (i.e., higher interest rates and an ever-widening gap between the haves and the have-nots), you should not expect to pay less in real, monthly costs than what you can pay today if you apply yourself and become a smart buyer. I do think the glee with which bubbleheads speak about people losing value in their homes is nothing short of evil and exposes a self-serving attitude prevalent among bubbleheads. Like Va_Investor said, you won't hear us going around wishing that you stock and bonds "crash and burn" ... Why would YOU be wishing the equivalent to us?

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  57. you should not expect to pay less in real, monthly costs than what you can pay today

    You're claiming that housing affordability, which is at an all-time low, is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future. I don't buy it.

    There are simply no new buyers left to speak of at current affordability levels - or in ruder terms, the last fool has bought in. That is why the market has turned. On the other hand, as long as the real price of housing exceeds the historical trend (tracking real wages), supply will be added at higher than historical rates. Only one outcome: falling real prices until reversion to the trend.

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  58. Wait a minute, hold on, stop the post.

    Lance said...
    “They get set by "the market."”
    “…Because of the general economic conditions…”
    “…..i.e., higher interest rates…..”

    This does not sound like “no bad time to buy Lance” that we’re accustom to. Sounds like there are market indicators that “mean SOMETHING”.

    Humm, wonder what those could be?

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  59. "They get set by "the market.""

    And markets can have bubbles and mean reverting price patterns. In this case, every indicator points to a housing price drop in the DC area.

    "I am trying to make you understand that to expect lower housng prices is delusional."

    Maybe you're the one who needs to get some more understanding. DC_Too has some good advice. Listen.

    At the end of the day, Lance, if you look at the income distribution within the DC area, it fails to support the housing prices that we see in the DC area. Housing prices around 30% lower across the board would likely match the DC income distribution.

    Intellectually, your arguments are lazy and flabby. We saw widening inequality throughout the 90s without a major increase in housing prices.

    You also ignore the fact that housing prices in DC have dropped before, even with lower interest rates. Or do you want me to get more historical real estate assesment and interest rate data?

    I am a smart buyer, which is why I'm not buying in DC today. Smart buyers don't overpay for assets.


    "I do think the glee with which bubbleheads speak about people losing value in their homes is nothing short of evil and exposes a self-serving attitude prevalent among bubbleheads."

    It's no different than taking glee in increasing home values. Increasing home values also negatively affect some people. Your attitudes are just as self-serving, Lance. You keep confusing your self-interest with morality.

    Everybody has self-serving attitudes. The key is to not let them get in the way of good analysis. I believe housing prices and payments in the DC area are headed for a significant drop. I'm open to whatever evidence says otherwise. I'm especially interested in whether inventories will keep growing or flatten.


    "Like Va_Investor said, you won't hear us going around wishing that you stock and bonds "crash and burn" ... Why would YOU be wishing the equivalent to us?"

    Haven't you said before that buying a house isn't supposed to be an investment?

    I don't know about wishing evil for you and Investor. Investor has already said he/she doesn't care what housing prices do.

    Would you be particularly harmed by a 30-40% drop in housing prices, Lance?

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  60. va_investor

    Are there any RE market indicators that you follow? Are there any RE market indicators that you find significant?

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  61. robert,

    Knowing that these things go in cycles, I was quite surprised that prices continued up after 2003. I had been waiting for the end since 2002. So, yes, I look to history for the previous cycles to predict (or try to) the current one.

    In June of 2005, the rising inventory told me the peak had passed.

    I am, more or less, sitting tight for now. I'll buy if there is an absolute steal.

    I bought 2 building lots last week. Sewer is coming in 2 years and they were only 10k each (because they are not buildable without the sewer). It is a small gamble.

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  62. va_investor said...
    “In June of 2005, the rising inventory told me the peak had passed.”
    “I look to history for the previous cycles to predict (or try to) the current one.”

    Any indicators other than inventory and historical data?

    “I bought 2 building lots last week. Sewer is coming in 2 years and they were only 10k each (because they are not buildable without the sewer). It is a small gamble.”

    Two lots at $20K!? What’s your location? Better yet, the lot(s)!

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  63. robert...I am buying lots in Westmoreland County - about 20 to 30 minutes east of Fredericksburg on the Potomac River. Smaller water-access communities in tne Colonial Beach area.

    I already have places in King George County. Been there for 15yrs and know the market.

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  64. Anonymous said...
    "You're claiming that housing affordability, which is at an all-time low, is going to stay that way for the foreseeable future.

    ....

    On the other hand, as long as the real price of housing exceeds the historical trend (tracking real wages), supply will be added at higher than historical rates. Only one outcome: falling real prices until reversion to the trend."


    Well, yes ... and no. I'm saying that in real dollar terms, the market has reached equilibrium ... It won't be going up quickly again anytime soon ... and in real dollar terms (not nominal dollars), it won't be going down either. And I am talking about monthly housing costs and not the nominal price at which a house is sold. So, when interest rates go up, we may see prices go down ... however ---everything else being equal --- the homeowner will have the same payment 6 months from now with the lower sales price than they would now with the higher sales price and lower interest rates.
    I am also saying that what you view as people being priced out of the market (i.e., affordability) where true is because of a growing disparity in this country between haves and have nots. I.e., There truly are fewer people out there (as a percentage of the whole) who are in a position to own vs. rent. In most countries around the world, the average person rents and does not own. We are being globalized ... i.e., made more like the rest of the world. HOWEVER, I would go on to add that most people only PERCEIVE themselves to be priced out. As Va_Investor has made the point over and over, if you are willing to build sweat equity and/or maybe live in a less-than-desireable neighborhood, chances are that you really can own.

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  65. "robert...I am buying lots in Westmoreland County - about 20 to 30 minutes east of Fredericksburg on the Potomac River."

    The act of getting to/from this area on the only major arterial, I-95, is horrendous already.

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  66. anon,

    To some who live in the D.C. area, it may seem hard to believe that life exists outside the beltway.

    Well, tell Ryan Homes not to be building in Colonial Beach. Nice new townhomes going in. All the major builders are in King George and Fredericksburg.

    Amazingly, there are good jobs in the area. For example, Dalgren Naval Base, Geico Headquarters, Quantico, etc. etc. All the major banks are there.

    Oh, here I am giving up my personal knowlegde. Actually, it is quite nice in that area. The potomac is several MILES wide and has beautiful sand beaches.

    We call it the "red neck riveria" but it truly is a paradise.

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  67. Anonymous said...
    "robert...I am buying lots in Westmoreland County - about 20 to 30 minutes east of Fredericksburg on the Potomac River."

    ”The act of getting to/from this area on the only major arterial, I-95, is horrendous already.”

    Who cares, at $10K a pop, that’s sounds like a deal. What size lots Va_investor?

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  68. quarter acre with beach and boat launch privileges.

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  69. va_investor said...
    "quarter acre with beach and boat launch privileges."

    Hell yea, Im there.

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  70. "To some who live in the D.C. area, it may seem hard to believe that life exists outside the beltway."

    Very easy to believe, especially considering that most residents "inside the beltway" are transplants from other parts of the country. (see: "Congress" for one example)

    The 95 HOV lanes are swamped. They are choked with traffic volumes beyond design capacity now. The US Census bureau has coined the term "extreme commuter" for the growing segment that spends 2+ hours per day in their cars. Regardless of what the area looks like today, values will depend in part upon more and more people living the "extreme commuter" lifestyle.

    My money is on a widespread backlash against extreme commutes, and oil prices are part of a compelling argument against extreme commuting.

    BRAC makes a difference, too....

    Are the Potomac's levels steadily increasing? Is it tidal in that part of VA? If tidal, you can expect the waterline to move inland over time. If not, you can expect to gain a little land over time as the Potomac begins to contract. (free land, that ain't bad.)

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  71. as I mentioned, there are decent employment centers very nearby.

    In any event, this is only my idea of a good "investment". I don't want to argue merits with anyone. I've had property in the area for 15 yrs.

    Take it for what it is worth.

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  72. Keith said,

    "I am a smart buyer, which is why I'm not buying in DC today. Smart buyers don't overpay for assets."

    Keith, do you rent now? How long have you been renting?

    This type of information is relevant to determining whether you really are a smart buyer.

    A lot of bubbleheads are feeling really full of themselves for not buying last year. But we never hear about why they didn't buy 4, 5 or 10 years ago. Wouldn't bubbleheads have been much better off if they had bought awhile ago? If they're really that smart, why did they not buy? (Maybe they lost their money in NASDAQ bubble?) Real estate had much higher returns than CDs, and most securities.

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  73. VA Investor,

    A coworker bought a weekend place in the same neighborhood down on the Potomac, and highly recommends the area.

    I'm looking for a modest weekend house with waterfront on river or bay, someplace to keep my sailboat. Anybody you recommend I contact to help me on my search??

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  74. Sounds like a plan to me. I won't give you a name because I don't want that person attacked on my account.

    Go to Homesdatabase.com or realtor.com to start your search. We got a 50mile radius map of D.C. and spent many weekends checking out different areas.

    Our place is waterfront and about 45 miles from the beltway. Makes for a very easy weekend commute.

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  75. Not trying to be argumentative here; but try driving down toward Fredericksburg from DC on several different Friday mornings, afternoons and evenings. Don't do it just once; leave at different times on several different days to get a good representative sampling of the conditions.

    I've done it. Suggest you do it too.

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  76. saul,

    I've been making that drive for 15 yrs. On Fridays, if you can't make it before 3p.m., it is best to wait until after 7p.m. Coming north Sunday evenings is a breeze.

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  77. In the past 15 years, congestion on I-95 has increased over 70%. I guess when you've lived through all that, you don't notice it as much. (sort of like not noticing a child growing because you see them every day)

    Suggest doing the drive many times and forming your own opinion, then informing yourself with the various traffic studies that are available. Or, take va's word for it.

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  78. anon,

    You are right. Opinions varying. But it would be hard to find a closer weekend place.

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  79. pied a terre?

    The more I crave getting away from my home in DC for a weekend, the more I consider checking into a four star hotel downtown. Over the years, the sum costs of room rates, dining, and entertainment will be lower than the sum costs of land, the dwelling, maintenance, and costs associated with a vehicle. And the time saved will be immeasurable.

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  80. I think Ive got it...That is the state mental hospital that Karl lived in, in the movie sling blade.

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